Costa Rica update #1 December 31, 2010

!Buenas tardes y Feliz Ano Nuevo!

There is nothing like ringing in the New Year in Costa Rica! We are thankful to have arrived safely last night (Thursday). We had a 3-hour layover in Atlanta before flying into San Jose. It was a bit of a bumpy takeoff and landing, but we managed to enjoy the 3 1/2 hour ride. Everyone enjoyed their own personal entertainment centers that included satellite TV, movies, TV shows, games and music. It was also great to sit together and enjoy getting to know one another. We spent Wednesday getting to know one another, but there is so much more to each person than one day’s worth:). The flight departed Atlanta a bit late, so we did not get into San Jose until close to 10:30 pm. By the time we got our baggage and got through customs, it was 11 pm. Our gracious and patient hosts were there to greet us and we piled into the bus on our way to get some rest.

After what amounted to a relatively short night of rest, we got up and had a hearty breakfast of eggs, fruit, bread and gallo pinto. We needed every bit of it as we headed to a local detention center to play indoor soccer with some inmates. It was a chance for this volleyball team to showcase their soccer skills! They did a great job of interacting with the 30+ guys that spent the two hours with us. It is always a highlight to be able to interact with them and let them know that we care for them. Two of our team members shared their testimony with the guys and they seemed to really connect. At the end of the day, whether or not we spend our days behind bars, we experience challenges. And each one of us is in need of God’s liberating love, grace and mercy in our lives!

Once a week Push The Rock runs a soccer practice and Bible study in this detention center for these young men. The Push The Rock representative and several volunteers from the local church run a two-hour practice before opening Scripture with these men. Our friendly match this morning was an opportunity to build on what God is doing there on a continual basis. It is such a blessing to be a part of what God is doing!

After saying Goodbye to the guys we returned home for lunch. The team was treated to another specialty … “arroz con pollo” (chicken with rice). We will certainly not be going hungry on this trip! We met for Team Time (team devos) and then had some free time to catch our breath and our legs, not to mention a nap or two. Most of the team ended up at a local park down the street and played pick-up volleyball. Others did end up taking naps or walking around town. We are gearing up for a big “formal” party at the church tonight. We are looking forward to ringing in the New Year with our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord! It will be a late one, but a good one:).

The plan is to post another update in the morning before we head north for four days. Enjoy a safe and blessed New Year’s Eve celebration! We praise the Lord for His faithfulness over these past three days as a team, but we are truly grateful for His goodness to us in 2010.

Thank you for praying for us and for serving with us!!!

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